Japan to allocate up to $3B for new missile defense system

TOKYO, Oct. 17 (UPI) — Japan is planning to allocate about $2 billion to $3 billion toward missile defense systems in response to North Korea‘s continued nuclear and missile provocations.

The defense-spending proposal is expected to be part of Japan’s third revised supplementary budget, Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported Monday.

North Korea has launched a total of 22 ballistic missiles in 2016, and more provocations are expected. The deployment of new missile defense equipment is to act as a key deterrent, according to the report.

Highlights of the proposal include the planned deployment of the Patriot Advanced Capability Missile Segment Enhancement, a powerful missile interceptor.

The PAC-3 MSE reportedly has a wider range and altitude than the PAC-3, which is the system currently in deployment in Japan.

The purchase cost of the PAC-3 MSE, $150.2 million, is reflected in Japan’s fiscal year 2017 budget, according to the report.

Japan’s defense ministry is also planning to allocate a portion of the third supplementary budget to the construction of either a THAAD or Aegis ballistic missile defense system, as well as improved radars for Japan’s F-15 fighter jets that can be deployed in response to Chinese maneuvers in the East China Sea.

In August, Japan planned a record $50 billion defense budget for 2017.

Japan’s defense budget has increased annually since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assumed office in December 2012.

About $735.3 million of the budget is to also go toward building powerful new submarines with improved sonar systems that could monitor the Sea of Japan.

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